13 Weeks Until a Half Marathon
Running is just about the only thing I enjoy doing to work out (besides biking or hiking), so last year I decided to train for my first half marathon (about this time last year and ironically after Thanksgiving!). Earlier this year I ran in a Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon (http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/ - see this link for a list of races that the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series hosts) and never felt a true runners high until I was in the midst of a few thousand people and racing only against myself. People of all shapes and sizes smiling as we passed mile 6, then mile 8, then mile 11 and finally, mile 13. Although I do not yet aspire to run an entire marathon, it is now my goal to run another half marathon in 13 weeks and to try to run 2-3 every year from now on. Because I have let my distance slip back down to merely a 4 miles max, I have put together a plan to get me back to where I need to be by race time. This may not work for everyone, but this is what I did last year and it worked for me.
Here is MY plan to run my 2nd half marathon in 13 weeks:
First, I use only one day a week for my really long runs (usually a Saturday) and try to run 3-4 other days during the week that consist of shorter, faster runs. So the schedule below is what I will follow for the long runs. (Please keep in mind I am an amateur.)
- Week 1: Run 3 miles, walk/run 3 miles
- Week 2: Run 4 miles, walk/run 3 miles
- Week 3: Run 4 miles, walk/run 4 miles
- Week 4: Run 5 miles, walk/run 4 miles
- Week 5: Run 6 miles, walk/run 4 miles
- Week 6: Run 6 miles at minute faster pace (or better), walk/run 5 miles
- Week 7: Run 7 miles, walk/run 4 miles
- Week 8: Run 8 miles, walk/run 3 miles
- Week 9: Run 9 miles, walk/run 3 miles
- Week 10: Run 10 miles, walk/run 2 miles
- Week 11: Run 11 miles, walk/run 2 miles
- Week 12: Run 12 miles, walk/run 1 mile
- Week 13: REST until race day
There are some very important things that I have learned, and continue to learn. One thing that is very important is to have the correct pair of running shoes. Your feet have a high possibility of blistering somewhere, but it can be MUCH worse if you are not wearing the correct shoes and if you do not replace them regularly if you are running often (It is recommended about every 3 months or so). www.runnersworld.com has a shoe advisor that is great for figuring out a type of shoe that is a good fit for you. The site asks sex, weight, height, running level, average runs, etc. and calibrates the information to deliver a shoe design that fits your foot.
Here are a few shoes that were recommended a flat-footed underpronator with a midfoot strike who runs primarily on roads.
There are also several stores that will make recommendations for you based on your gate, arch and their experience. Some that I know of are:
- Geaux Run http://geauxrun.com
- Fleet Feet http://www.fleetfeetsports.com
- Varsity Sports http://www.varsityrunning.com/ "Run Hard Live Easy" - great store motto and you get a free shirt with every shoe purchase with the logo
- Tri Running (no website)
- Louisiana Running Company http://www.louisianarunning.com
There are a couple brands that I personally love:
Some tips to keep your run interesting:
Download a running app:
Runkeeper (http://runkeeper.com/). This app helps you to track your routes, per mile pace, calories, total distance, and average pace. You can set it on a specific workout plan or create your own while listening to you playlists in your phone. The website is very interactive for tracking your progress, and, if you want to, will help you connect with other runners in your area.
Another one that several of my friends use and compete with each other on is the Nike app (http://www.apple.com/ipod/nike/). There is a chip that you put in your Nike shoe that helps to monitor your pace and find music that matches it. It motivates you by the mile and also lets you chose your workout, shares your distance, pace and times and allows you to monitor your progress online (www.nikeplus.com).
If your body is telling you its thirsty- listen. There is nothing wrong with being "that girl/guy" with the fanny pack of water bottles if this is what you need.
Listen to your body:
If your body says stop, stop. There is no reason to hurt yourself because, in the long run (I promise, the cheesy pun is unintended), pushing yourself to the point of an injury will only put you further from your workout goals.
Find races in your area:
I find that one of the best ways to stay motivated is to sign up for races. Having a goal to work towards will get you off of the couch and on the road, because, let's be honest, who really like crossing the finish line last? Here are some websites that can help you find races in your area:
- "google" races in your city www.google.com
Another way to search is by race type. If you enter in "half marathon", "5K", etc. in your web browser, you are sure to come up with a myriad of results.
Join a running group:
I guarantee that if you live in a city, you will be able to find several running clubs. This is a great way to meet others with your same passion for running. Some you have to pay to join while others are free, and they all offer different running opportunities. Some groups are training groups for race types while otheres are recreational and meant for going for a run then grabbing a beer. If you cannot find a running club, start one of your own!